How Family Therapy Can Help During This Lingering Covid Crisis

It has been almost a year since the world changed with the Covid-19 virus. After months and months of being locked down, many families are experiencing burnout from being forced to be home together so much.

While the vaccines are being rolled out, we are still getting mixed reports and messages from the media as to when life might return to normal. Some schools have opened, but many have not, and parents are still scrambling to figure out how to make a living while homeschooling their children.

All of this has caused many families to feel fatigued and a real strain on their relationships.

Family Therapy: Ensuring Your Family’s Health

Over the past year, many families have taken necessary measures to ensure they remain physically healthy during this time. Making healthy meals (instead of ordering pizza 3 nights a week) and getting the family involved in regular exercise has been a big help. But how can parents ensure they and their children protect their mental health at this time?

Family therapy offers each member of your family a safe space to discuss any issues they may be having. A trained therapist can guide your family, helping all of you to understand and utilize the healthiest communication strategies. He or she can also help to validate your feelings and offer helpful stress management techniques.

And, for anyone concerned with the safety of visiting a therapist in person during this time, family therapy can be just as effective when received through telehealth, or online therapy.

If you and your family are struggling right now and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

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Yes, New Fathers Suffer from Depression Too!

Having a baby is an event that typically brings a lot of joy and excitement for couples. However, roughly 60% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), with symptoms being either moderate or severe. Fortunately, PPD is a common health issue with much discussion and content outlining the symptoms and treatment.

What’s not commonly discussed is that new fathers can absolutely suffer from depression as well. While this depression is usually caused by stress and lack of sleep, and not hormonal shifts, the fact remains that men can and do suffer from PPD. In fact, according to the JAMA Network, roughly 10% of new fathers suffer from PPD.

Other research by APA has also shown that a “similar proportion” of new fathers experience some form of depression after childbirth. Since the frequency of depression is fairly similar between new mothers and new fathers, PPD can no longer be viewed as a woman’s issue.

Because of these recent findings, researchers are now recommending that both new mothers AND new fathers (or expectant mothers and fathers) get regular screenings for signs of depression. This is especially important in new mothers and fathers with a history of mental health issues in their own past, or in their family lineage.

Causes of Male PPD

A study out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published in the Journal of Family Issues found there were a handful of common causes of PPD in new fathers:

No Education

Fathers simply didn’t know they could suffer from PPD and so ignored any symptoms they were experiencing, instead of focusing on supporting their partner.

Gender Expectations

Many men feel the need to be “manly” and act like a “tough guy” that isn’t bothered by emotions.

Repressed Feelings

Men are often reluctant to share their feelings, let alone seek help because of them.

With these new findings, hopefully, more men will pay attention to how they are feeling and seek help should they feel depression creeping on.

If you or a loved one are a new father that is suffering from PPD and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.

 

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Helping Kids Cope with Divorce

Divorce isn’t easy for anyone, but children can take it particularly hard. Many children don’t understand what is happening and many more feel the divorce is somehow their fault. 

 

Here’s how you can help your child cope:

Communicate Openly

The divorce should be explained in simple and straightforward terms. If at all possible, both parents should be part of the conversation. Your language should be tailored to the age of your children as well. So for instance, when speaking with very small children you might say something like, “Mommy and Daddy yell at each other a lot and everyone is feeling unhappy. So we have decided to live in different houses. But we love you very much and we will both take care of you still.”

Keep Things Predictable

Children do best when their environments are familiar and predictable. Do your best to provide the structure and routine your children have become used to.

Explain How Things Will Work

Many children will panic at the news, they will not understand how both Mommy and Daddy will both remain in their lives. So clearly explain how things will work going forward. “You will spend weekends with Daddy, and the rest of the time you will be here with Mommy.” You may also want to work on creating a calendar together so your child has something to refer to.

Never Speak Badly About Your Ex

Your ex may have caused you a lot of emotional pain in your relationship, but to your child, that ex is their mommy or daddy. Never speak unkindly about your child’s other parent.

Encourage Your Children to Speak Honestly About Their Emotions

Your child will sense that YOU are dealing with a lot of emotions, and, wanting to protect you, he or she will keep their emotions to themselves. It’s important that you encourage your children to talk to you candidly about how they are feeling. Let them know they can come to you at any time and talk to you whether they are scared, sad, or angry.

Seek Guidance

Everyone’s situation is different – and all children are different. Some may take the news better than others. You may find that your child is suffering more than you originally expected. If this happens, it may be a good idea to seek help from a trained family therapist, who can give all of you helpful coping tools.

 

If you would like to explore treatment options for your child, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

 

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